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Determining employment status is not always straightforward and will be decided by the nature of the duties and how they are to be carried out, rather than being dependent on the person carrying out the duties or the parish.

What is a worker?

A worker may occasionally do work for the parish. The parish does not have to offer them work and they do not have to accept it. Their contract uses terms such as ‘casual’, ‘freelance’, ‘zero hours’, ‘as required’ or something similar. The parish will be deducting tax and National Insurance contributions from their wages and will be providing the materials, tools or equipment that the worker needs to do the role.

What is an employee?

Most people provide personal service as an employee under a contract of employment. This individual is an integral part of the church and is paid through a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system. The church has an obligation under the contract to offer work, and the employee has an obligation to accept the work offered, within the scope of the contract.

Indications that a worker is your employee are:

  • can you tell them what work to do, as well as how, where and when to do it?
  • do they have to do their work themselves (i.e. they cannot ask someone else to attend in their absence)?
  • are they an intrinsic part of the organisation; for example, do they appear on the parish website, have a parish e-mail or direct number, work in a parish-run location and represent the parish at events?
  • are they expected to turn up at certain times/contracted to work a set number of hours?
  • do they receive a regular wage or salary, even if there is no work available?
  • do they have benefits such as paid leave or a pension?
  • do they have use of parish equipment?
  • do they manage anyone else who works for you?

What is being self-employed?

Self-employed contractors normally provide one-off or specific services for a fee which is then invoiced to the parish. They will pay their own income tax and National Insurance contributions. They do not have employment rights such as statutory holiday, but they do have some legal protection such as an entitlement to a safe and healthy working environment.

Indications that the relationship is one of self-employment are:

  • can they hire someone else to do the work you have given them, or take on helpers at their own expense?
  • are they known in the parish as being self-employed and have a written contract for services?
  • can they decide what work is done and when, where or how it is done for a piece of work to be completed?
  • do you pay them an agreed fixed price – i.e. it does not depend on how long the job takes to finish?
  • can they make a loss or a profit?
  • do they use their own money to buy significant tools and equipment, business assets, pay for running costs and so on?

The employment status checklist is a useful tool for checking employment status available through the HMRC website.

The South London Church Fund and Southwark Diocese Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee (No. 236594).
Registered Office: Trinity House, 4 Chapel Court, Borough High Street, London SE1 1HW. Registered Charity: (No. 249678).

© The Diocese of Southwark 2021. All rights reserved.
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